Saturday, December 18, 2010

Here's What I'm Convinced Of

Helloooooo out there! I'm not sure if anyone is still with me but if so, I've got a lot to catch you up on. Let's see....I'll write what we've been up to and then you can see for yourself with pictures. But first things first...As I reflect on all God has done since I came to know him and especially the last two and a half years, here's what I'm convinced of more than ever before.

There is nothing else worth giving my life to

God is good, loving, patient, compassionate, just, and his character is the same, yesterday, today and forever

John Piper says that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Yes, I'm convinced of this.

My deepest need has been taken care of at the cross and so I don't ever have to fear losing my greatest treasure, my relationship with Him

His ways are "beyond tracing out" and I'll never understand all that he chooses this side of heaven, but I can rest in the fact that he sees all, knows all and controls all things

He is my truest source of joy, peace, strength, grace, hope

Mighty is the power of the cross

I came across this quote from a lady named Suzanne ( I read it on her blog) and it completely summarizes what God has been doing in my heart the past year.

"Are you going to stay in your comfortable little place and make sure everyone else around you is comfortable? We have the rest of our lives to be heaven, for eternity! I wanna go outa here all wrinkled, tired and ragged, looking like I have lived life to the fullest. At this ONE chance (called life on earth) to do something significant to bring God and God alone glory."

I couldn't have said it better. Friends, God has put adoption on our hearts. It's something Billy and I have talked about since we got married. We have always been open to where God might lead. We are praying through finances ( I wish it wasn't so dang expensive) and domestic vs. international. My heart is drawn to Africa. My heart is also drawn here to the "least likely" to be adopted. God has changed my perspective on the way we live and shown me so many things I can do without. Ok, like the operation Christmas child shoe boxes. Don't we have this backwards? Shouldn't we be sending millions of dollars that we as Americans spend on Christmas when in reality our kids don't NEED anything. Maybe we should give our children shoeboxes and send the money to children across the world who have nothing! Please don't hear me say that it's wrong to have nice things, but for me, God has shown practical ways I can sacrifice. And the best part is that it's my great privilege to do it, to trust and obey.... so we can go to Africa or wherever God leads!

I long to be eternally focused and not waste my life on all these things that won't last forever. The Word of God and the souls of men! God's glory! The gospel! God's kingdom!

"I have been crucified with Christ, it's no longer I who live, but Christ in me. The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." Lord, make this true of my life!

I've been reading Radical by David Platt. Don't read it unless you want to be challenged!! He says-

" And this is where we need to pause. Because we are starting to redefine Christianity. We are giving in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into a version of Jesus we are comfortable with. A nice, middle-class American Jesus. A Jesus who doesn't mind materialism and who would never call us to give away everything we have. A Jesus who could not expect us to forsake our closest relationships so that he receives all our affection. A Jesus who is fine with nominal devotion that does not infringe on our comforts, because, after all, he loves us just he way we are. A Jesus who wants us to be balanced, who wants us to avoid dangerous extremes, and who, for that matter, wants us to avoid danger altogether. A Jesus who brings us comfort and prosperity as we live out our Christian spin on the American dream.

"But do you and I realize what we are actually doing at this point? We are molding Jesus into our image. He is beginning to look a lot like us because, after all, that is whom we are most comfortable with. And the danger now is that when we gather in our church buildings to sing and lift our hands in worship, we may not actually we worshiping the Jesus of the Bible. Instead we may be worshiping ourselves."

Wow. There is nothing else to say. Just let those statements soak in for a while. I'll keep you posted on the adoption process.

Phew, that's all for now :)

A Recap in pictures ( not in order)...Start of school, football, Camping, Halloween, Troy Homecoming and Thanksgiving. We've had a fun Fall!










Next time I'll share pictures of Elley's 5th birthday and Holden's 9th....we had some fun parties!!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Two Years Ago

Two years ago.......

My life was really easy

Compared to today, my God was really small

I had no idea how hard this road was about to be

I had no idea how sick Alaina was

We were having a fun/normal summer- beach, VBS, friends

I complained a lot more in my heart

My whole world changed

I realized just how out of control I was

I planned my daughter's funeral and brushed her hair for the last time

I wept and ached and wept and ached

My God was Big

I was small

I let go of this world in a deeper way

A part of my heart went to heaven

I became very fearful

I gained perspective

The gospel was planted deeper in my heart and life

I realized you never get over something like this, but you get through it by God's grace

I thanked God for laying the foundation in my life to allow me to trust Him when I was completely broken and helpless

I had faithful friends claim His promises for my family

I realized that it only takes a moment in time for your life to be radically changed forever

I prayed that God would use it all for His glory and His name even though I didn't understand

I began to see that God would be faithful to all his promises

I began to place all my hope in Him

I need Him today, just as much as I did two years ago.

We sang "Desert Song" this past Sunday at church and I've been singing it over and over since then....."All of my life, in every season, You are still God, I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship."


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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Life this Spring

Life has been full lately. I feel like I'm at a really good place. What does that mean? God continues to heal the deep places of my heart and is deepening my understanding of who He is in my life. I take him "out of the box" a little more everyday and see that nothing is too big for Him. If there is no box, then He's limitless. I limit Him by thinking He is only big enough to get us through the death of a child.....I think He's not big enough for anything else "really" hard. But He is. He is THAT mighty, and I can trust his heart.

I came home recently to find these in my kitchen.....



I guess that's what I should expect since I now live on land that has a barn. Of course, my farmer of a husband has them sitting in the middle of the kitchen and as I'm reading the brochure for their care it says "Do not keep the chicks where food is prepared." He has never been a rule follower. We now have 8 chickens, 2 itty bitty chicks and four ducks. The kids think they're great. I was done the second day when the house smelled like chicken poop. They were quickly moved to the barn and into their newly built chicken coop.




We spent Easter in Butler this year and celebrated Mary Blake's 14th birthday. Then, we made a very last minute plan and went to Chicago for Spring Break. It was a great trip in every way. Billy and Holden went to a Cub's game, Elley and I rode the train to Chicago and went to the American Girl store...exciting stuff for a 4 year old. We had great weather, enjoyed the parks and catching up with dear friends. And one of the highlights was staying with the Albaughs....some of the BEST people I know!


John Hunt (missionary from Thailand) came for a visit










God is at work in my heart is such huge ways....placing a calling down deep. I can't wait to tell you more but for now I'll give you a hint......John 14:18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."

Ezekiel 36:25-28 "I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; You will be my people and I WILL BE your God."

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Broken Hallelujah


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Do you know Mandisa? She was one of the top twelve on American Idol a few seasons back and a friend gave me her CD last year. Her song "Broken Hallelujah" is one of my favorites. The chorus says

"When all that I can sing
is a broken hallelujah
When my only offering
is shattered praise
Still a song of adoration
Will rise up from these ruins
I will worship You and give you thanks
Even when my only praise
Is a broken hallelujah"

That describes how I feel most days. It describes how I feel today when it's my daughters birthday and she's not here to blow out six candles.

I'll be honest, sometimes, depending on the person and what frame of mind I'm in, I can get frustrated when people say,
"But she's celebrating with the King. We'll see her again." I feel like Sally Field on Steal Magnolias when she's standing with her friends after her daughters funeral. Please tell me you've seen that movie! It's on my list of favorites. I KNOW she is celebrating in heaven but some days the church answer is just not what I want to hear and it doesn't bring comfort for the here and now when I want to hold her.

Days like today are hard, but God has done so much in my heart the past two years and I know and trust He will carry us through another birthday.

I went on a Women's Retreat about a month ago and it was amazing. Our speaker was Nancy Guthrie (google her if you don't know her story) and literally everything she said impacted me. One of her statements is something God has been showing me the past few months as I deal with my expectations of Him. I can't remember if I've shared this before on here but I know I've told several friends. Long before Alaina died, deep down, I always wanted God to make my life easy. It was easy to follow and trust Him when life was "good." Since Alaina died, so often, I expect Him to give us an easy life since we've suffered in such big ways. Just don't allow anything else really hard and I think we'll be ok.

Here is what Nancy said "When you look at the cross, you can no longer RESENT that He hasn't made your life comfortable."

"His purpose is to purify and empower us to place ALL our hope in His promises of the age to come."

"Stop grasping for what is temporary. Adjust your expectations for God to(always) come through with what is physical." Think about that for a minute. What are the primary things we pray for in a room full of people....physical needs, sick people.
But what about our deadly sin disease? Nancy shared that the bigger purpose of Jesus healing ministry was to draw others into a deeper understanding of their SPIRITUAL need. He intends to heal our deadliest disease, our sin sickness. He began to heal us at the cross and He will bring it to completion at the Resurrection.

"What we need most is to be filled with a deep confidence in the character of our Father."

The truth is, I want a deep relationship with God but I don't want to go through hard things to get there. But I don't think you can separate the two.

Jesus speaks through his word that "I will be enough for you in the pain I do not take away." That is by far the biggest promise I've had to rest in. "Jesus responds by always giving us more of Himself, not necessarily escape from the pain."

"Christ's power moves in and makes us joyful in the midst of our pain."

Ultimately, "God has said "YES" to our(Hope Atchison's) deepest need in Christ Jesus." My deepest need is not to have an easy christian life, there is no such thing. My deepest need has been taken care of at the cross.

All of this doesn't make me miss her any less, but these truths give me hope for the life ahead of me. It raises my perspective to eternal vs. temporal. I so often focus on the temporary. Hope- "An expectation of good above what we can currently see."

"There is something infinitely more important to Him than protecting me from physical harm(or giving me an easy life, free from suffering). He understands the big picture. It's my soul that He's concerned about."

"We go to God's word to see what He says about Himself, not about what we want Him to be."

We were challenged to ask God for eyes of faith to grab hold of his promises, cherish them, and live in light of them.

I'm sure you've seen the book "Your Best Life Now." This will never be our best life. Nancy reminded us that our BEST life is reserved for heaven and this life will never measure up. Here and now, we have ONLY tastes and glimpses of our best life....Lord, help me to live as a pilgrim here.

So much of the way we think about and view God is just bad theology. It's a radical way of thinking to consider, as Paul Tripp says, that God allowing REALLY hard and painful circumstances into our lives is still His grace....a deeper shade of grace because of the things he does in our lives THROUGH the pain. I won't ever understand it completely or even like it, but I will accept it by faith, and trust him.

There have been so many tears, questions, emotions, fears, but I can clearly see the ways he has used everything to call me to something deeper, given me fresh perspective, caused me to trust him, helped me to be honest about my thoughts, given me deeper relationships, held my marriage together, helped me to not lose it when my children make huge messes(like emptying an entire container of Vaseline in the bathtub) and on and on and on. "Sometimes he glorifies himself by delivering us FROM the weakness and sometimes he glorifies himself by delivering us THROUGH the weakness."

I'm simply thankful today for a God who has patiently loved me through this pain, cared for me despite my unbelief and fear, continues to draw me, and has given EXTRA, deeper grace for every single step. I'm beyond thankful for the finished work on the cross and his promise to complete the work he started in me until the day of Christ Jesus. I will never be the same because he has been( has HAD to be) so big in my life!

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Sunday, January 17, 2010


Sometimes I want to write out my thoughts, but am just too busy with life, and my window of time to sit and type is limited. And so much has gone on in my little brain over the last few months that I'm not sure where to even start.

Sometimes I can't look at Alaina's pictures for very long because it hurts too much. But sometimes I can stare and smile and remember and it makes me say "Come quickly Lord Jesus!"

Sometimes I think her death has made me a better mother and caused me to be more patient and let go of the things that I think are a big deal (like what people think of me or my children) but sometimes I forget so quickly how short this life is and I get caught up in NON eternal things and lose sight of matters of the heart.

Sometimes I'm caught off guard when Elley says "God is mean, I'm kind of mad at God. Why did Alaina have to go to heaven?" And then I wonder why that suprises me since I have the same thoughts, and I can be honest with my children about those feelings and remind them and myself of my need for a Savior.

Sometimes I don't like my story. I don't like what God has written so far. Sometimes I'm really really sad about it and think this is in no way good for my life.

Sometimes when my children get sick I have lots of fear. I realize I've been shaking my fist at God and in my heart saying "Don't you dare! Don't take another one because I don't want you to have to be that big in my life." I see that there is so much freedom that comes from being honest with Him and knowing that he can handle my unbelief and love me anyway and work in my heart to cause me to trust him. I know it is not about just "trying harder" not to feel that way. He will supply the grace and do the work in my heart. And oh yeah, then I remember that I'm not God, I don't get to plan my life.

Sometimes I sit and daydream about what he is calling our family to be/do. I just want to be obedient to what he has for us and I remember that this suffering is part of the calling, but I wonder what he has for us beyond the suffering. I don't want to just live in my christian bubble and be comfortable. I don't want my children to either.

Sometimes I cry when I see little Kindergarten girls with their backpacks and I picture Alaina walking and laughing, and the void in my life is so huge, and then I am reminded of just how much I take for granted.

Sometimes I can be so self focused and forget there is a world that so desperately needs the gospel of GRACE.

Sometimes I forget how much I need the gospel of grace. Sometimes I don't love unconditionaly, I love based on how well my children "behaved" that day. And I realize I am not loving them the same way God loves me.

Sometimes I start living like this world is all there is.

But sometimes, when I step back and really think about all God has done and I look at pictures like these, I am truly thankful. Loving, servant hearted parents, friends who love us no matter what and who have walked this road with us so faithfully, three special children still to parent and love here, and one deeply loved daughter who is waiting on us in heaven.


Here's a recap of the last few months in pictures

View from my back door



DISNEY 2009 with McLendons and Werneths




Elley at the princess lunch






Holden at Hoopty Do Review








Thanksgiving in North Carolina with Billy's grandmother



Holden's 8th birthday




Mary Helen's 2nd birthday and Christmas in Butler












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